Explore the romantic bays and hidden sandy beaches. Do not hesitate – begin your unforgettable journey right now! Tips and advice on how to make the best of your time while sailing in Cuba.
This article gives an overview of the following topics:
- Ports in Cuba: When is sailing ideal in Cuba?
- Islands in Cuba: Small islands, atolls, and coral reefs: this is also Cuba
- Sailing in Cuba: Our offer for a one-week-long sailing roundtrip
Briefly about the Cuban climate
The largest island of the Caribbeans is characterized by a typical subtropical climate. This means that there are two seasons. The “dry” season lasts from December to April, while the wet one is from May to October. There is a lot of sunshine during the whole year, the air and water temperature is comfortably hot. Depending on the season, water temperature is at least 20°C (68°F) or even 30°C (86 °F) sometimes. The most pleasant climate for sailing is between December and May. During these times, the humidity is lower. From the summer months until November, we have to be really careful though, especially on the eastern shores. Hurricanes are common in this period, causing a lot of damage in the area.
About ports in Cuba
When sailing in Cuba, you may encounter special situations you should prepare for in advance. For instance, ports in the south are more crowded due to the vessel traffic that has increased in recent years. There is often a waiting list for marinas. This is especially true in Trinidad and Cienfuegos. So it is worth planning our trip and arranges our boat rental well in advance.
Ports in Cuba
It is important to note that there is an official limit on marinas in the country. Small bays on the northern shores are closed for yachts. It is only allowed to dock at ports or tourist facilities in Cuba. Some of the dedicated places are Puerto Vita, Cayo Coco, Cayo Levisa, Marina Cabo San Antonio, Cayo Largo, Varadero. There are a few exceptions in areas where there are no settlements. The strict regulations are in connection with the fact that 22% of the territory of Cuba consists of national parks or nature reserves.
As in the case of many other countries, we should be careful about our valuables and docking our boat with reasonable care in Cuba as well.
Many think that Cuba is actually one large island. This is not the case. The reason why the country is a popular sailing paradise is that the main island is surrounded by thousands of small islands. Coastal flows are formed around these islands, providing a chance for beginner sailors to gain experience, while the more experienced can still find a challenge here. We are going to describe the most interesting parts of the Cuban archipelago. The most beautiful parts and the finest spots in brief.
Isla de la Juventud – the largest
The second largest island after the main one was named after the youth. We are 50 kilometres from the Cuban shores, in the centre of the Canarreos, south of Havana. A significant part is covered by pines, characterizing the view and the atmosphere. Due to the volcanic activity that was present several thousands of years ago, the shores of the island are covered by black sand. The island is a pleasant spot for tourists because of its climate. This is true regardless of the fact that sometimes hurricanes strike the place.
”Gardens of the Queen” – the unspoiled nature
The second largest group of islands are located on the Caribbean Sea. There are six hundred reefs and small islands between the bays Ana Maria and Guacanayabo. The “Jardines de la Reina “is one of the most popular destinations for scuba divers. The waters surrounding the islands are rich in fish and sea creatures. That is why fishermen are common visitors of the area.
”Gardens of the Kings” – the world of beautiful corals
The archipelago called Jardines del Rey lay can be found on the northern shores. Coral islands and reefs lie about 200 kilometres long from northeast to the southeast on the Atlantic Ocean. Half a dozen of these are larger and more significant in terms of tourism. Two of them are directly connected to the mainland (Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo).
The islands provide a natural habitat for several animal species as the Caribbean flamingos that can be found in vast numbers here.
We recommend Cienfuegos – the most popular charter of the country – as a starting point. We gave a more detailed insight about Cuba in our article on the sights in town. The port here is well equipped compared to what you would expect in the area. It may seem like a trivial fact, but many people here speak English, while in other ports the Spanish language might be your only option for communication.
Day 1: Leaving from Cienfuegos
If you are not in a hurry, there is a fine beach 7 miles from the bay that you should visit. This is El Tamarindo. You can spend the whole day here with scuba-diving, snorkelling or swimming. If you have sailed here and recharged your batteries, you can continue your journey!
Day 2: Cayo Guano
After a relaxing first day, a more challenging session awaits. After 6–7 hours of sailing you can reach the spectacular Cayo Guano island. Anchoring 30 meters from the shores you may try fishing here. If you still feel energetic enough after completing 37 miles, you can swim in the turquoise blue waters.
Day 3: Cayo Sal
We are 55 miles to the southeast from Cienfuegos. We have about 2 hours of sailing ahead of us for today, during which time we can benefit from the frequent trade winds for moving forward easily. The Cayo Sal is a fairly large coral reef with several species of fish in its neighbouring area. You can see Crawfish and even sharks here. On the inside of the island. there is a lagoon with saline water in an amazing environment.
Day 4: Cayo Largo
Today, another wonderful island is waiting to be explored. You can reach Cayo Largo after 4–5 hours of sailing and completing 25 miles. You can find the world-famous Playa Sirena here. Enjoy the beautiful white sand and try the watersports! The southern shore segment is 20 kilometres of continuous sandy beach. If you would like to go on a walk and admire the sunshine, you can do that here.
Are you looking for a place to remember? Then you shouldn’t miss the turtle farm in Cayo Largo, which accepts visitors from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day. You can then spend your evening on the beach where you can choose from several excellent bars and restaurants. Have a Cuban cocktail and a nice dinner before continuing your journey.
Day 5: Cayo Iguana and Cayo Rosario
You can access the wonderful habitat of the Cuban rock iguana by a rowboat. The island was named after an endemic species of lizards that only live here. This earthly paradise is located about 20 miles from the Cuban shores and Trinidad. Due to its incredible richness in flora and fauna, it is a fascinating place to visit.
Continuing our journey, we arrive at Cayo Rosario after a shorter trip of 14 miles. If you are lucky, you will dock in time to see the small local market. Here you can try the sea fish caught locally. It’s delicious!
Day 6: Cayo Largo again
It’s time for you to turn the wheel and head back; a longer trip awaits today. You arrive again at this cosy island after completing 30 nautical miles.
Day 7: Returning to Cienfuegos
This is where your one-week-long journey ends. You had a great opportunity to get an insight into the spectacular beauty of Cuba and its neighbouring islands. Finally, you arrive at Cienfuegos with great memories.
Don’t hesitate if you feel like doing the journey described above! Rent a boat today at a lower price, with flexible conditions!